Sample ballots marked for Doug Jones found in probate judge’s office
Alabama Senate sample ballots marked for Democrat Doug Jones were discovered in the probate judge’s office in Bullock County last week.
Election officials said the ballots have been discarded.
“I consider it a closed matter,” said Secretary of State John Merrill, the state’s top elections official.
Merrill told AL.com that the ballots were brought to his attention late Friday afternoon by the campaign of Republican Roy Moore.
Merrill said he immediately contacted James Tatum, the probate judge in Bullock County, who found the marked ballots on a table in the probate judge’s office in Union Springs — about 45 southeast of Montgomery. Tatum told AL.com he immediately confiscated the ballots and discarded them.
Merrill said there were about 10 or 15 ballots that were marked while Tatum said there were more than 10, though he said he did not count them.
After assurances from Tatum that the ballots had been discarded in their phone conversation late Friday afternoon, Merrill said he immediately called Bill Armistead, campaign chairman for Moore, and told him that the ballots had been removed.
The Moore campaign issued a press release on Tuesday afternoon under the headline: “Moore campaign calls on Secretary of State to investigate voter fraud.”
The press release is a letter to Merrill from Armistead, who said he was “deeply disturbed” by the discovery of sample ballots marked for Jones. Each county receives a supply of sample ballots before each election, Tatum said.
“I don’t know why anybody could or would say voter fraud because there’s nothing voter fraud related to anything like this,” Merrill said.
“I don’t see how that can be voter fraud. I’m still baffled by that one,” he said.
Tatum said he assumed the ballots were marked by Jones supporters but he said they could have been marked by Moore supporters. There is typically a lot of traffic from the public in the probate judge’s office, Tatum said.
Armistead called for a “full investigation of this security breach.”
“Dirty tricks like this undermine public faith in the integrity of our elections, and therefore strike a blow at the legitimacy of our elected officials which is foundational to our representative democracy,” Armistead said in the letter. “They also reveal a serious breach of the security protocols that should protect these and other election materials against fraud and other malicious acts.”
Armistead also requested that representatives from each campaign be allowed to inspect the supply of sample ballots available in each probate office across the state “so that we can be assured that what happened in Bullock County was an isolated incident, and not part of a broader plot to steal this election.”
via Real-Time News from AL.com http://bit.ly/2zzWl2c
December 5, 2017 at 03:37PM